TALKS on the future of Shannon pharmaceutical company Avara have now been referred to the Workplace Relations Commission.
Speaking to The Clare Champion this week, Clare TD Joe Carey said, “The talks are still ongoing, as far as I understand. The union weren’t happy with the consultation period, so it has been referred to the WRC and there will be engagement there between the two parties.
“As far as I understand, there was a 30-day period for consultation but there was only maybe 10 days of consultation. They looked for a date with the WRC and they’ve got it. The bigger picture here is that there is a business plan that the workforce have put together.
“It’s a viable business plan and it’s based upon actual orders that the company have received to produce product for companies that need it. They’ve based it over a 12-month period to maximise the level of employment.”
He said he believes that the plan would be likely to succeed, if implemented.“If the liquidator bought into that plan, I think they would realise more for his side of things and the employees would be able to continue in work. It would be a win-win for both sides.”
Deputy Carey added, “I’ve presented the business plan to the Minister for Enterprise Heather Humphreys and I’ve also sent a copy of it to Minister of State Pat Breen and I’ve asked for their assistance in trying to steer the liquidator in the right way in terms of preserving jobs and the livelihoods of people. There are a significant amount of people working there, 114.”
More than 4,600 people have now signed an online petition calling for greater redundancy payments for any staff leaving the company.
The petition states, “Workers at the Shannon manufacturing site of Avara Pharmaceuticals, many of whom have young families or have dedicated most of their working lives to this site, face the prospect of being made redundant next week. This follows on from a haphazard consultation period and no clear communication regarding their rights or entitlements.
“The previously recommended redundancy payment, which would have enabled these now vulnerable workers to pay their bills and provide for their families, are not being honoured by the liquidators. Workers on this site have already had money taken out of their pockets as a result of the liquidation process. Help save them from losing any
“This is just another example of a large multinational coming to our shores and treating the Irish worker and the Irish State with contempt and disregard.
“Please sign this petition to help secure a fair redundancy package for the honest hardworking employees of this company.”
Some of those who have signed the petition claim to be workers at the plant and to have concerns about the safety of chemicals at the site.
In a statement last week, SIPTU sector organiser Alan O’Leary said, “This is a very difficult situation for the workers in Avara. The union is working very closely with the court-appointed liquidators, in order to protect our members’ jobs.
“We have also spoken to Minister of State at the Department of Trade, Employment and Business, Pat Breen, outlining the concerns of our members regarding the future of the plant and the need for a viable business plan,” he stated.